Worship Service – March 28, 2021

Sunday March 28,2021

Welcome, our scriptures this week are; Zachariah 9:9-13 and Mark 11:1-11.

Palm Sunday: “Moving Forward”

Zechariah 9:9-13

The Coming of Zion’s King

(9) Rejoice greatly, O Daughter of Zion! Shout, Daughter of Jerusalem! See, your king comes to you, righteous and having salvation, gentle and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey.
(10) I will take away the chariots from Ephraim and the war-horses from Jerusalem, and the battle bow will be broken. He will proclaim peace to the nations. His rule will extend from sea to sea and from the River to the ends of the earth.
(11) As for you, because of the blood of my covenant with you, I will free your prisoners from the waterless pit.
(12) Return to your fortress, O prisoners of hope; even now I announce that I will restore twice as much to you.
(13) I will bend Judah as I bend my bow and fill it with Ephraim. I will rouse your sons, O Zion, against your sons, O Greece, and make you like a warrior’s sword.

Mark 11:1-11

The Triumphal Entry

(1) As they approached Jerusalem and came to Bethphage and Bethany at the Mount of Olives, Jesus sent two of his disciples, (2)saying to them, “Go to the village ahead of you, and just as you enter it, you will find a colt tied there, which no one has ever ridden. Untie it and bring it here. (3) If anyone asks you, ‘Why are you doing this?’ tell him, ‘The Lord needs it and will send it back here shortly.’ “
(4) They went and found a colt outside in the street, tied at a doorway. As they untied it, (5) some people standing there asked, “What are you doing, untying that colt?” (6) They answered as Jesus had told them to, and the people let them go. (7) When they brought the colt to Jesus and threw their cloaks over it, he sat on it. (8) Many people spread their cloaks on the road, while others spread branches they had cut in the fields. (9) Those who went ahead and those who followed shouted, “Hosanna! ” “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!” (10) “Blessed is the coming kingdom of our father David!” “Hosanna in the highest!”
(11) Jesus entered Jerusalem and went to the temple. He looked around at everything, but since it was already late, he went out to Bethany with the Twelve.

This is the word of God, for the people of God. Thanks be to God.

Welcome to this celebration of Palm Sunday. Today is a joyous occasion as we remember the crowds of people who lined the streets of Jerusalem to welcome our Savior into their city.
Many who witnessed Jesus riding into Jerusalem on that first Palm Sunday probably thought they had come to celebrate Passover and quite possibly what they thought was the leader of a new religious movement, or maybe even possibly the long-awaited Messiah. They had heard amazing stories about this man about his feeding thousands of people with two fish and five small loaves, about his ability to heal, and even about his raising of Lazarus from the dead. Could this be, they wondered hopefully, the One they had long been awaiting?
I can almost imagine them saying, “Here he comes,” those at the front exclaimed as the procession drew near. Those at the back jostled for a better look. They stretched as high as they could on tiptoe and held up small children that they might have a view of the man they hoped would be their new king. Can you imagine? Happy people singing. What a special day! Jerusalem was going to be Camelot, and Jesus was going to be King Arthur. The crowds were dreaming of trumpets and towers, capes and sashes, flowing robes and sparkling scepters. The disciples would be knights at the round table, shining in their armor, using might for right, battling evil. (Let’s all Sing)…. The rain would never fall till after sundown. By eight the morning fog would disappear. Camelot! Camelot!
And then their hearts sank. This man they had heard so much about, whom they hoped would deliver them from the iron grip of the Romans, wasn’t riding on a mighty stallion as Caesar surely would have. Nor was he riding on a mighty elephant, as Alexander the Great might have. Instead, he was riding on a donkey! The man the people of Jerusalem expected to lead them to victory over their enemies was riding a lowly beast of burden.
What kind of Messiah was this, they had to wonder to themselves? Where was his armor? Where was the pomp and grandeur that was expected out of a leader?
They must have felt like the teenage boy who had just passed his driving test and inquired of his father as to when they could discuss his use of the car.
His father said he’d make a deal with his son, “You bring your grades up from a C to a B average, study your Bible a little, and get your hair cut. Then we’ll talk about the car.”
The boy thought about that for a moment, decided he’d settle for the offer, and they agreed on it. After about six weeks his father said, “Son, you’ve brought your grades up and I’ve observed that you have been studying your Bible, but I’m disappointed you haven’t had your hair cut.”
The boy said, “You know, Dad, I’ve been thinking about that, and I’ve noticed in my studies of the Bible that Samson had long hair, John the Baptist had long hair, Moses had long hair, and there’s even strong evidence that Jesus had long hair.”
His dad replied, “Did you also notice that they walked everywhere they went?”
We to, often only take from the Bible ,that which we believe will benefit our situation best. It didn’t occur to the people who were disappointed that day that the prophet Zechariah had foretold that the Messiah would indeed enter Jerusalem while riding on a donkey (Zechariah 9:9). Later, some of them might have remembered, but at the time it was happening many were disappointed. They showed that disappointment in the cries of crucify him later in the week.
But there were others who were not put off by the Jesus’ means of transportation. They had seen his miracles first hand. They had listened to his teachings in person and knew he taught not like the Pharisees but with an authority that could only have come from God. And so, as he made his entrance into their city. They spread their cloaks and palm branches on the road in front of him.
Those who accepted him as the One they had been awaiting were exuberant in their welcome. They shouted, “Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Blessed is the coming kingdom of our father David! Hosanna in the highest heaven!” For them, it was a grand celebration, just as it is for us.
The story as told in Mark’s Gospel, however, ends rather abruptly. After a brief description of the Palm Sunday parade, we read these words, “Jesus entered Jerusalem and went into the temple courts. He looked around at everything, but since it was already late, he went out to Bethany with the Twelve.”
That statement could leave us disappointed and asking for more information feeling like the parents of the six-year-old, who came home from Palm Sunday services proudly carrying his palm. They quizzed him on his Sunday School lesson for the day. He responded enthusiastically, “Jesus came to Jerusalem on a donkey. And the happy people waved their palm branches and sang, O Suzanna…
Today, I would like to focus our attention for a few moments on these brief, final words from Mark’s Gospel about Jesus’ actions after the Palm Sunday parade. Hopefully they will help us have a better understanding of our Saviors trying week to come. Holy Week. And what it took to keep…”Moving Forward “.
Jesus has made his triumphant entry into Jerusalem . . . exhilarating some while deflating others. Now it is evening. He is probably feeling a bit tired after the day’s busy activities. Soon he will retire with his disciples to Bethany, a small village just outside the city. But, before he goes, he has a few moments to kill.
How shall he spend his time? Mark tells us he went to the temple courts and “looked around at everything.” I wonder what was on Jesus’ mind as he surveyed the temple courts that Palm Sunday evening. We know that much will happen over the last week of Jesus’ life. And much of that will be centered in or near the temple courts.
In Mark 10 we read that some days prior, while they were on their way up to Jerusalem, Jesus took the Twelve aside and told them what was going to happen to him. “We are going up to Jerusalem,” he said, “and the Son of Man will be delivered over to the chief priests and the teachers of the law. They will condemn him to death and will hand him over to the Gentiles, who will mock him and spit on him, flog him and kill him. Three days later he will rise.”
These were not words the disciples wanted to hear. In fact, in many ways they refused to hear them. They still held on to their dreams that he would overthrow the ruling powers and set up a new kingdom in which they would have favored positions.
So, was he already offended by thoughts of the moneychangers taking advantage of worshipers there in the temple? Was it then he decided to confront them the following day? As Matthew records in 21:12.
Or perhaps he looked around at the massive stones of the temple. Was it then it occurred to him to say to his disciples that this mighty temple would soon be destroyed? A prophecy that was fulfilled within 40 years of his death.
Perhaps he was focused simply on what would happen to him in the next few days the betrayal, the mockery of a trial, the scourging, the agony of crucifixion.
But they were in Jerusalem now, and his prophecy about his death was about to be fulfilled. There was no turning back. Jesus stood there in the courtyard of the Temple and surveyed the scene. We cannot know what was going through his mind. In fact, we know only a few things for certain about his final week on earth.
We know, first of all, about his courage.
Jesus knew what lay ahead the physical and emotional pain, a cruel and unjust death. He dreaded it with all his being, but he did not cut and run as many of us might have. With great bravery he moved forward toward his destiny. He was a man of great courage.
His courage evidently had an effect on his followers after Pentecost. We can read about the crippled mans healing in Acts 3:1-10 . Then in the following chapter we would learn because of the courage of Jesus, Peter and John moved forward with that same courage. Then when temple leaders confronted Peter and John they seized them and put them in jail. The next day, were told they noticed Peter and John’s courage and they alluded to the fact that they “had been with Jesus.” (Acts 4:13) The courage which they possessed was not something which they had been taught by Jesus , but something which they had caught from him. The courage of Jesus was contagious.
As Billy Graham once put it, “Courage is contagious. When a brave man takes a stand, the spines of others are often stiffened.” Jesus had the courage to keep, ”Moving Forward”! The disciples were infected by it. Have you?
We see his courage and then we see the level of his commitment.
In a few days he will kneel in a garden and pray, “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will” (Matthew 26: 42). He didn’t want to drink from the cup which was being offered him, but he was driven by one motivation to do the will of his Father. Ultimately, it was not blind courage that drove him; it was determination to do what God wanted him to do. It was His commitment to the father and to us.
I’m reminded of a story about a fellow in the South who wasn’t very deep in his commitment to Christ but who loved to go to revival meetings. Every time a visiting evangelist put up a tent on the outskirts of town, he was there. When the invitation was given at the close of the service this man would be the first one to the altar. Kneeling at the altar he would spread out his arms and pray loud enough for everyone in the service to hear, “Fill me, Lord Jesus, fill me.”
Every revival that came to town, he would follow this same ritual. He would be the first one to the altar and he would pray, “Fill me, Lord Jesus, fill me.”
Finally, a lady who knew him well couldn’t take it any longer. Once when he was praying that empty prayer, “Fill me, Lord Jesus, fill me,” she stood up and prayed loudly, “Don’t do it, Lord. He leaks
Jesus walked the walk more perfectly than anyone who has ever lived. He lived out the ethic which he taught. He was totally committed to doing his Father’s will. He kept “Moving Forward“. He was a man of courage. He was a man of commitment.
And we see his absolute compassion.
Above all else, during Holy Week, we see the love that took him to the cross. “Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friend,” reads John 15:13. Those were Jesus’ words and that is exactly what he did.
There’s a parable about a voyaging ship that was wrecked during a storm at sea and only two of the men on it were able to swim to a small, desert-like island. The two survivors, not knowing what else to do, agreed that they had no other recourse but to pray to God. However, to find out whose prayer was more powerful, they agreed to divide the territory between them and stay on opposite sides of the island. The first thing they prayed for was food.
The next morning, the first man saw a fruit-bearing tree on his side of the island, and he was able to eat its fruit. The other man’s parcel of land remained barren.
 After some days, the first man was lonely and he decided to pray for a wife. The next day, another ship was wrecked, and the only survivor was a woman who swam to his side of the island. On the other side of the island, the second man had nothing. Soon the first man prayed for a house, clothes, and more food. The next day, like magic, all of these were given to him. However, the second man still had nothing.
Finally, the first man prayed for a ship, so that he and his wife could leave the island. In the morning, he found a ship docked at his side of the island. The first man boarded the ship with his wife and decided to leave the second man on the island. He considered the other man unworthy to receive God’s blessings, since none of his prayers had been answered.
As the ship was about to leave, the first man heard a voice from heaven booming: “Why are you leaving your companion on the island?”
”My blessings are mine alone, since I was the one who prayed for them,” the first man replied. “His prayers were all unanswered and so he does not deserve anything.”
”You are mistaken,” the voice rebuked him. “He had only one prayer, which I answered.”
”Tell me,” the first man asked the voice, “what did he pray for that I should owe him anything?”
”He prayed,” said the voice from above, “that all your prayers be answered.”
“Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friend . . .” That’s what sent Jesus to the cross. His courage, his commitment, his absolute compassion as shown on the cross on which he died. Have you such courage, such commitment, such compassion? We don’t know what was on his mind that first Palm Sunday evening as he surveyed the Temple Courtyard, but we know how his week ended. He gave himself for you and for me. So we can keep…”Moving Forward”.

In His Service,
Pastor Joe
Listen To Audio: Sermon 20210328
Listen To Audio: Service 03282021


Pastor Joe will be available at the church on Thursday afternoons from 2 to 4. If you need to speak to Pastor Joe you may reach him at 570-267-4570 or E-Mail: joe.s.travis@gmail.com


LOOSE CHANGE today goes to General Fund.

All are invited to our Sunrise Service at Bill & Carolyn Whites at 7:30. Coffee and Danish will be served in Community Building following the Sunrise Service. Easter Worship Service begins at 9:30.

One Great Hour of Sharing will continue until Easter Sunday. If you wish to donate please indicate on your envelope and make check payable to FHPC.

Newsletter Deadline Tuesday, March 30, please get any articles to Carolyn White.

PW is gathering recipes for a church/community cookbook. If you have some favorite recipes and would like to share, E-Mail Bonne, twizzler@nep.net or give it to her handwritten.

If you are in the parking lot, PLEASE TUNE YOUR RADIO TO 89.5 FM TO HEAR THE CHURCH SERVICE.

PLEASE NOTE: We ask that you wear a mask as you ENTER the church. Winter Months – Session discussed the procedures the congregation will follow during the winter months. People will enter and leave the Church by the front door. Mask must be worn as they enter and go to a pew. Mask must be worn when they leave the Church. Pastor Joe will stand near the pulpit when the service is finished to speak to people before they leave. He will not stand by the front door. Session is asking that people do not congregate in the vestibule or loiter for a long time in the sanctuary when they leave. Hand sanitizer is located by the front door for your use.

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